Though Mayor Bill de Blasio, a liberal Democrat, stopped short of blaming “toxic rhetoric” for the deadly shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic last week, he said critics of the “extraordinary” organization should stop trying to undermine it.
“We need to address the toxic environment because of what it means for policy, not because of an indivudal who did something horrendous,” Mr. de Blasio said at an unrelated press conference today. “I think we need to address it because we have an attempt right now to undermine Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood is necessary for the health and well-being of women all over this country.”
Last Friday, a 57-year-old man named Robert Dear initiated a gun battle at the clinic, killing three people, including a police officer. Mr. Dear reportedly make remarks about “baby parts” after he surrendered to police.
Conservatives routinely criticize Planned Parenthood for performing abortions and the Republican presidential candidates have all lashed out at the organization before. While the Republican contenders were largely silent after the shooting, many Democrats and pro-choice activists said Mr. Dear was motivated by a hatred for women’s health services, though a direct motive for the shooting has not yet been made clear.
Mr. de Blasio, a longtime defender of Planned Parenthood, said Mr. Dear’s act of violence was “unacceptable by every measure.”
“The toxic rhetoric is very bad for this country and I think is unfair, doesn’t represent the reality of Planned Parenthood which is an extraordinary organization,” he said.